Here’s the latest from around the AL East…
- Monday is Michael Bourn’s opt-out date in his minor league contract with the Orioles, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports. Bourn suffered a broken finger that sidelined him through most of Spring Training, which led the outfielder and the Orioles to agree to a new minors deal after Bourn opted out of his original pact. There isn’t an obvious spot for Bourn on the big league roster, with Trey Mancini, Seth Smith, Joey Rickard and Hyun Soo Kim providing the O’s with solid corner outfield depth. Kim, however, hasn’t hit much or seen a lot of action this season; Bourn could replace Kim as a left-handed hitting option while adding much more speed and defensive ability.
- Aaron Hicks has been taking grounders at first base, though it may take an “emergency” scenario to see Hicks starting at the position, Yankees infield instructor Joe Espada tells NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty. Joe Girardi asked for Hicks to get some work at first for depth purposes, though work will be required since Hicks has never played any position besides outfield during his 10 pro seasons. Deploying an athletic and above-average outfielder at first could be seen as something of a waste defensively, though the Yankees clearly are exploring all possible ways to get Hicks’ bat into the lineup, with Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury also all hitting well in the regular outfield spots. Greg Bird and Chris Carter, by contrast, have provided the Yankees with little production at first base.
- A week after examining why the Blue Jays should keep Josh Donaldson at least through the season, Sportsnet’s Jonah Keri presents the counter-argument, opining that the Jays should look to move Donaldson now while his value is still very high. Donaldson will hit the open market after the 2018 season (his age-32 season), and committing major dollars to any free agent in his mid-30’s could be a questionable move for Toronto, even for a player with Donaldson’s elite bat. In trading their pending free agents and then Donaldson for a major package of talent, the Jays could reload for a quick return to contention next season.